Questions tagged [environment]

Referring to the surrounding ecosystem of the planet Earth, its natural mechanisms and balances, and study of the effects of human interaction with it.

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Is nuclear winter a doomsday scenario like the media depicts it? [duplicate]

While a nuclear war will obviously cause significant environmental harm to the earth, after doing some research on the subject I'm starting to find facts that make me question whether it would ...
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Must Japan's population pay for any accident caused by nuclear power plants sold abroad by Japanese companies?

This image is currently trending on social media: source The caption reads: 海外で日本の売った原発が事故を起こした場合、その費用はすべて日本国民の税金から支払う約束になっていりる If a nuclear power plant sold abroad by Japan causes an accident, ...
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Is paying your bill online more environmentally friendly than post?

My monthly Comcast statement says that I should go paperless and pay my bill online via "Ecobill, the environmentally friendly way to pay your bill each month". All jokes about Comcast aside, has ...
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Is 90% of the large fish biomass gone, when compared to pre-industrial levels?

According to this video only 10% of the fish biomass that was in the ocean during the pre-industrial era is left, due to overfishing. This claim seems to be based on a study by Myers and Worm which ...
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How fair is "N% lower environment load" claim for lower grammage paper?

This is basically a rephrase of this question from Sustainability SE. Paper manufacturer UPM claims they have paper that has the same key characteristics (as white, as thick and as usable in office ...
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Is helium being "wasted" on party balloons?

From Tim O'Reilly: Good Q?, the kind politicians are loathe to answer RT @jamesoreilly: "Is it right to waste helium on party balloons?" http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-24903034 … and from ...
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Does the phase-out of incandescent light bulbs measurably reduce overall electrical power consumption?

Many countries are phasing out incandescent light bulbs. For example, in the European Union, various types of classic light bulbs have been removed from the market in the last years. The claim is that ...
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Does a full grown oak tree expel 7 tons of water from its leaves in a day?

There are a couple sites with this claim but I can't find any reliable sources... http://www.snapple.com/real-facts/cap-view/715 http://www.chacha.com/question/how-much-water-does-a-full-grown-oak-...
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Will elephant dung paper infused with flower seeds grow when planted?

According to this article there is a paper that has been infused with elephant dung and flower seeds that, if planted and watered properly, will actually grow. I guess it sounds plausible but I feel ...
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Is buying organic vs. conventional products better for the environment?

From http://www.goldengatexpress.org/2013/04/07/true-organic-food-benefits-environment-sustainability/: Another reason to choose organic products is that the environmental footprint attached to ...
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Is Gasification of Garbage a Viable Energy Solution?

I read this NYT article about using blast furnaces to turn garbage into burnable gas, yielding a net energy output. The article suggests that the company, Sierra Energy, is very close to building a ...
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Do forests increase atmosphere's oxygen?

I've read that forests are important because they absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen to the atmoshpere 1. But other places say that this is false for a mature forest: "On average, then, this ...
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Are we running out of drinking water so that we need to be frugal with it?

I’ve read in the news that a majority of earth’s population might run out of drinking water. As with many of these kind of predictions it’s difficult to judge the urgency and correctness of it ...
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Does one acre of hemp yield as much paper as 4 acres of trees?

I saw the following photo on my Facebook news feed: I asked my friend who posted it for a source, and he gave me a link to a hemp manufacturer. I'm pretty sure it's not a reputable source. I'm ...
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Does physics give a climate sensitivity to carbon dioxide of about 3°C?

A letter to the editor of the Economist from Professor Anders Levermann of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research stated the following: The IPCC’s range on sensitivity is supported by, ...
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Are biofuels environmentally friendly?

Both the EU and the USA have programmes to encourage the use of biofuels in gasoline and diesel. This is supposed to help reduce oil imports and help the environment at the same time. But government ...
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Are fossil fuels making the world greener?

The popular understanding (at least among those who are not climate skeptics) of global warming is that it is likely to create environmental catastrophe for reasons such as spreading deserts and ...
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Was Greenpeace ever sponsored by KGB?

I've heard the claim as urban legend many times. Allegedly in 1970s KGB has sponsored various Western "anti-war" movements, especially the ones that could hinder Western nuclear tests. Fact is ...
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Is "peak wind" coming?

The concept of "peak oil" has been bandied about for some time (see this question: Is peak oil still set for 2013?) by people who believe the world hydrocarbon stocks will soon be so depleted that ...
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Shouldn't an electric car be thermodynamically at a disadvantage towards one with a combustion engine?

I have the greatest respect for the work of the Rocky Mountain Institute, but this recent blog post triggered my general scepticism towards electric cars, or more specifically, their fuel efficiency. ...
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Does the decision to fly or not have no impact on GHG emissions inside the EU?

A discussion paper published at the University of East Anglia holds that due to the cap-and-trade scheme, a decisions to fly or not has no impact inside the European Union. Quoting from the press ...
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Does lead used in electronics leach into the environment via landfill at detrimental levels?

Despite being one of the earliest metals exploited by man, lead is an environmental poison. If it gets into the body it causes a variety of acute and chronic symptoms and even low levels are thought ...
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Is there a worldwide helium shortage?

I've seen a number of news articles about scarcity of Helium lately, for example: At the moment, helium is cheap, primarily because the US government built up a large surplus supply, then decided ...
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Could a solar flare cause economic collapse? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Will the Sun's magnetic activity disrupt electronics on Earth? It seems that solar flares are one of the few things that have any factual weight among the possible causes of a so-...
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Can boredom at workplace be attributed to poor working conditions?

In an article I read recently the author mentions a certain study. He claims that it showed that people are likely to judge a task "boring", when in truth it was not, but there were low-intensity ...
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Are 100 million sharks killed by humans per year?

I've read from several sources that humans kill 11,000 sharks per hour or 100 million per year, for example : The Humane Society of the United States, quoting Jean-Michel Cousteau Look at what is ...
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Is 22-23 Celsius (72-73 degrees F) measurably the optimal temperature for office productivity

I must admit that I lost the original reference for the claim, but almost certain it was LifeHacker, so it is notable enough. The claim is that 72-73 degrees Fahrenheit (or about 22-23 Celsius) is ...
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How often are recyclable items recycled?

It seems a bit bold for one to think that everything that he or she throws in the recycling bin is recycled. I would like to know how often things that are thrown into the recycling bin (assuming ...
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Does recycling protect our resources?

In the essay Eight Great Myths of Recycling, Daniel K. Benjamin (formerly a Professor of Economics at Clemson University) lists a number of misunderstanding related to recycling, including ...
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Is global warming irreversible?

I have heard countless times the perils of global warming and how we should all do our fair share to save the Earth for future generations. Here is but one example from an NPR article: "Global ...
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Is the Amazon rain forest man-made?

An article in the Atlantic quotes several experts who claim that the Amazon rainforest is the remnants of planted and cultivated orchards and farms, and that the land is not naturally conducive to ...
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Do candles emit ten times the carbon dioxide of an equivalent lightbulb?

In Wasteful Earth Hour?, it's claimed that candles emit roughly 10 times the carbon dioxide of light bulbs of the same brightness. While emissions will vary depending on the candle, the lightbulb and ...
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Is wood smoke that bad?

Recently I've read that blog post by Sam Harris and I was quite shocked. I don't have a fireplace or any habit related to a systematic wood-burning. But is wood smoke really that bad as it is ...
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Do Americans use three times as much toilet paper as Europeans?

This article "5 Seemingly Innocent Ways You've Screwed The World Today" on cracked.com contains the following claim: Delicate American bottoms prefer plush, bleached white, multi-ply paper with all ...
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Does sharing a shower use less water?

From what I found on the Internet, a brief shower is more water efficient than a bath. I was wondering if there is any research about water use with more than one person using a shower? My gut ...
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Does individual recycling have no observable global impact?

Maddox in his anti-SOPA statement makes following claim: [people think that...] Painstakingly recycling every single shred of garbage in your home makes a difference. It doesn't. Even if you, ...
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Could Global Warming be good for life?

A paper from Nature Geoscience (reported by the BBC here) claims that the carbon dioxide humanity has pumped into the atmosphere is holding off a new Ice Age. This has revived an old idea best ...
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Was the "hole in the ozone" caused by CFCs?

Burt Rutan (the aviator) has put out a critique of climate change: An Engineer's Critique of Global Warming "Science" On page 7, this caught my eye: Modern Human-Extinction Scares ... • ...
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Are there alternative methods of meat production (such as free-range meat) that are better for the environment than factory farmed meat? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Organic food is worse for the environment because it requires more land than non-organic food Most meat in developed nations is produced by Industrial agriculture methods, ...
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Is being a vegan more environmentally friendly than otherwise?

On their website, PETA claimed the following: A recent United Nations report concluded that a global shift toward a vegan diet is necessary to combat the worst effects of climate change. And the U....
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Does grass alone produce enough oxygen for life?

Over a work happy hour tonight, two employees were talking about their different lifestyles -- one likes riding four wheelers, which the other considers to be recreational pollution. Somehow the fact ...
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Do electric heaters with open heating elements "dry the air" or "burn up oxygen"?

There is a popular belief in Russia that electric heaters with an open nichrome heating element (red hot) "burn up oxygen" and "dry the air", unlike oil-filled ones. Is it true that a Joule heater ...
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Do black cars consume more fuel?

Some time in 2009, California passed new regulations, banning black cars (here's one source) on the grounds that black cars have higher emissions than other colors of cars. The theory is that black ...
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Will increased speed limits on motorways (or highways) cause significant harm?

The UK government has recently started a consultation on increasing the speed limits on motorways (roughly the equivalent of highways in the USA) in England. So it seems appropriate to pose the ...
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Kindle vs Books and ecofriendliness

I was in a conversation with a friend trying to convince her to switch to kindle, so she said that the cost and plastic material and eco footprint of kindle is higher then all the EBooks she could ...
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How much are United Airlines reducing their carbon emissions by giving pilots iPads?

Source article Here: Article Briefly: United Airlines are giving their 11,000 pilots iPads in an effort to increase efficiency, etc. They're making manuals and other documents electronic. As a side-...
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Is cycling worse for the environment than driving to work if you need to take a shower?

I had an argument with a work colleague. He claims that me cycling to and from work is less environmentally friendly than driving because I will eat more as a result of expending more energy. I have ...
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Are electric cars beneficial to the environment compared to low consumption modern cars?

Imagine an electric car in a country where most energy come from coal (which i believe is the dirtiest). Add this to the pollution that disposing the batteries will create, or the carbon footprint ...
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Which baby diaper is more Earth-friendly -- cloth or disposable?

We have a lot of friends who use cloth diapers, and I've heard some say that cloth diapers are actually more un-ecologically friendly than disposable diapers. I have a hard time buying that. I can ...
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Can indoor plants recycle the air we breathe?

This question on the Gardening SO site suggests that plants can be used to clean the air within a home or office environment. I know of the research done by NASA on indoor plants which can clean/...